Wednesday, 03 October 2012 12:13

1LT Ralph A. Santasiero

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1LT Ralph A. Santasiero, 90, of Raritan passed away on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012.

Son of Michael J. and Rose A. (Santangelo) Santasiero, he was born April 1, 1921 in Long Island City, N.Y., and raised in Bellerose, Long Island.

After graduating Sewanhaka High in 1939, he began his banking career as a messenger for Empire Trust Co., New York City, until he enlisted as an aviation cadet in 1942. He graduated and was commissioned in Marianna, Fla.. His first assignment was the 9th Air Force flying P-47 Thunderbolts from Christ Church, England, with the 405th Fighter Group, 510th Fighter Squadron, the only one still active today. He participated in the first flights on D-Day and was later stationed in France. He flew 77 missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with 13 Oak Leaf Clusters.

After being released from active duty as 1st lieutenant, he returned to Empire Trust Co. where he met his wife Dorothy Sherry. Ralph attended NYU evenings graduating in 1951 with a B.S. in Banking and Finance, just in time to be recalled to active duty in the Reserve. He was assigned to the 5th Air Force in Korea with a fighter squadron. As a captain he flew P-51 D’s for 100 missions and was awarded a Cluster to the Distinguished Flying Cross and four additional Clusters to the Air Medal.

Released from active duty in 1952, he again returned to Empire Trust Co., became an officer, and later, became first vice president of J. Henry Schroder Bank & Trust Co. in New York. He also became president of City Trust Services in New Jersey.

Ralph was a founder and an active member of his beloved 510th Fighter Squadron Association, a member of the P-47 Thunderbolt Pilots, and the P-51 Mustang Pilots. Ralph especially enjoyed dancing, Big Band music, traveling, gardening, stamp and coin collecting, and gathering with his fellow World War II buddies from his squadrons.


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